Should, should, should.
Do you use that word much? Should? It’s an insidious word, filled with judgment and, whether you aim it like a gun at yourself or the people around you, you’re not just participating in judgmental behavior, you may be preventing yourself from being who you want to be.
Steve, you shouldn’t talk like that!
You’re making a big deal out of nothing!
Do you think you should eat healthier? Exercise more? Spend more time with your loved ones? If so, you’re judging yourself against some idealized measuring stick that may or may not be accurate. The problem with “I should,” though, is that it isn’t being followed up with “I will.” And when you don’t follow up, when you don’t get the salad instead of the burger, you’ll either live with some guilt or you’ll live in denial. Just ask Cleopatra – it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Heck, “should” is just dripping with guilt. Can you feel it?
If you want to be happier, healthier, richer, using “should” just lets you excuse yourself from doing it. When you say “I should” you know that means you’re not going to, otherwise you’d say “I will.” Just do it. (Sorry, Nike)
But what about “he should” or “she should?” With over 6 BILLION people in this world and hundreds if not thousands of cultural norms, can you really say you know the one way people “should” live, or what they “should” do and if they just did it your way everything would be perfect?
Do you want people telling you what you should or shouldn’t do? Or are you an adult who has the right to make your own choices, right or wrong, and live with the consequences (good and bad)?
Let’s make the word should a thing of the past. Drop it like the guilt-ridden, judgmental gun that it is. Tell yourself that you will (or you won’t) do something and go with it. And let everyone else do the same. There will never be a Utopia here on Earth, where everyone does what you think they should do, but letting each person live their own truth and not face your constant judgment will give us all the best chance to live the best life we can. So drop the judgment.
I think you should.
Steve is the founder of Straight Talk Entertainment and currently produces and writes for the audio drama Aural Traditions, recently voted Charleston City Paper’s Best Local Podcast. He’s also an Information Security professional and avid shark tooth hunter.